50,000 Membership Reward Points With Mercedes – Benz American Express Platinum Card

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 Mercedes Benz American Express Platinum Card

Reader WK (thanks, WK!) writes in to let us know about the 50,000  Membership Reward points offer for the Mercedes Benz American Express Platinum card.

The minimum spending is $3,000 within 3 months, but there is a $475 annual fee which is not waived for the first year.

I will not be applying for this card, because I can’t justify the $475 fee, and because I need to wait a bit since my recent app-o-rama.

But this is a great deal for folks who are buying a Mercedes Benz, since you get 5 times the number of points on Mercedes Benz purchases and a $1,000 off certificate towards a new Mercedes after spending $5,000.

Even with the $200 credit toward airline incidental fees, I would be paying $275 ($475 annual fee – $200 airline credit) for 50,000 Membership Rewards points and limited airline lounge access.

Sure, I could redeem 50,000 points for at least $500 in gift cards, but I’d only get a $225 value ($500 in gift cards + $200 in airline fee credit – $475 annual fee) from the card since I don’t value the lounge benefits  (the Platinum card is a much better deal if you value lounge access or the $100 Global Access fee credit).

I expect at least a $300+ value (or more) before I apply for a new card in today’s mega-bonus environment.

I’d rather apply for other cards with lower or waived annual fees first (lounge access is not important to me), but will  consider the American Express Platinum when I run out of other options.

But this card may be a good deal for folks who travel a lot and who can take advantage of the airline lounge benefits with Delta Airlines and the $200 travel credit.

Regular American Express Platinum Offer

The regular offer is for 25,000 Membership Reward points, but there is a thread on FlyerTalk about folks applying for the regular Platinum card and then calling to increase the bonus.

I’ve been asked many, many times via email if it is worth applying for an American Express card and then trying to increase the bonus.

It really depends.

If you can take the risk of ending up with a smaller sign-up bonus, and won’t be very disappointed if you are unable to get the larger sign-on bonus, then go ahead and apply.

Don’t apply, if you will always regret not being able to get the higher bonus, because there are no guarantees that you will be able to get the higher sign on bonus.

It really depends on your risk tolerance, but I have read that it is taking more calls to get American Express to apply targeted bonus calls to your account.

Benefits:

The card does have some very strong benefits, but the $475 annual fee may not be worth it for everyone.

1.   Lounge Access.  You get access to Delta Airlines, and up to September 30, 2011, Continental Airlines lounges while traveling.

Access to Delta lounges is only if you are flying on Delta and present your boarding pass and platinum card while entering the lounge.  You can even bring 2 guests or your spouse and children under 21 with you.

If you are a regular Delta traveler, the lounge access benefits could be very valuable.

2.   $200 Airline Credit.   Once you designate an airline, American Express will automatically credit your account for incidental fees, such as flight change, baggage fees, etc. on that airline.

One Mile At a Time has written that most small purchases seem to get reimbursed, so you may be able to get $200 in airline gift cards, which would help make the $475 annual fee more palatable.

Mommy Points reminds us that while the $200 airline incidental credit is not included in the terms & conditions of the Mercedes Benz Platinum card, the American Express Facebook page suggests that the $200 fee is included since it is a benefit of the regular Platinum card.

3.   Global Entry Rebate.   You get the $100 sign-up fee credited for the  Global Entry program which speeds up immigration and customs when entering the US.

4.   SPG Gold Status.  You get complimentary SPG Gold status as a Platinum cardmember.  SPG Gold gets you a 50% bonus on points earned, late check out, and a slightly better room.

5.   Mercedes Benz Benefits.   I thought these were pretty weak, and was expecting something better.  Readers have pointed out that these could be a great value if you are purchasing a new Mercedes Benz.

  • Spend $5,000 and get a $1,000 certificate towards the purchase/lease of a new Mercedes.
  • Earn 5 times the number of points for eligible Mercedes Benz purchases.  This is a HUGE benefit if you’re buying a Mercedes because even if you have to pay a fee to the dealer to use your card, you will still come out ahead because of the 5X bonus.
  • $100 certificate after first purchase towards Mercedes accessories.  I bought wiper blades for my Honda Civic last week and paid more than $50, so I’m not sure what Mercedes accessories you’d get for $100!

6.   Other Platinum Benefits.   The Points Guy has compiled a nice list of the other American Express Platinum benefits.

Bottom Line:

Once again, this is not a card which I’ll be applying for.

But if you are buying a Mercedes, or if you fly regularly and value Delta Airlines lounge access or will enroll in Global Access, this card will likely be a good value.

What say you?

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Disclosure: I don’t get any commission or payment from Mercedes Benz, American Express or anyone else for this post or for the links in this post.

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31 Responses to 50,000 Membership Reward Points With Mercedes – Benz American Express Platinum Card

  1. I’m researching the T&Cs of the $1000 certificate towards purchase of a Mercedez-Benz. We drive an MB GL SUV and lease is up for renewal at the end of the year if this can be applied simply as cash against a new one then could be very valuable

  2. also I really don’t see how the $200 airline credit is included. i mean seriously mp is basing this view based on the facebook page over and above the stated terms & conditions!??! In fact I’d say it’s very clear to me that the $200 credit is NOT included. It appears to be replaced by the $1000 MB cert plus the lease end excess miles waiver plus the $100 a year for accessories. Assuming you buy/lease a new MB every 3 years (which seems to be about half the population in my suburban n’hood!!) that is worth up to $550 a year ($1000 discount every three years, 2000 * 20c excess miles = $400 every three years, $100 accessories every year). But NO airline credit peeps

  3. Be careful – I do not believe that the MB Platinum has the $200 credit toward airline incidental fees like AMEX’s standard Platinum Card. I believe that AMEX replaced that benefit for the MB Platinum Card with the $1000 M-B Cert. Unless you want that for getting a Mercedes-Benz, then I cannot see getting this card because of the annual $475 fee. For those who really want the Platinum Card, I’d wait to see if another great sign-up bonus is offered for the regular Platinum Card in the future.

  4. I would also double check about the $200 credit if I were the one applying for the card. I’m not at all saying I believe Facebook to be true over the Terms and Conditions, I am just pointing out that there are sources that say it is included.

    In addition to the official Amex Facebook page, it was specifically listed in several articles, including one here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-express-and-mercedes-benz-put-consumers-in-the-drivers-seat-with-the-launch-of-two-new-co-brand-cards-2011-08-22?reflink=MW_news_stmp

    If you read through the 100+ comments on the Amex Facebook page about the card (I know, annoying), the Amex rep responds to inquiries about the $200 fee directly by saying all Plat benefits are included.

    As I said in my original post, if getting the $200 is an important factor in deciding whether or not to apply for the card, I would absolutely get something in writing from Amex confirming the benefit. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have it in their Terms and Conditions if it was indeed included, but I also don’t know why that info would be verified by their official FB page and other articles if it was not included. Definitely a “buyer beware” situation here. :) GL to those who choose to apply. Keep us posted!

  5. This is PHENOMENAL deal for me because this card earns 5X POINTS ON ELIGIBLE MERCEDES-BENZ PURCHASES. I am planning on applying for this card and then using the Card to buy a 2011 E350 Mercedes -Benz for $59,365 . This transaction will yield 296,825 Membership Rewards Points for buying the car and 50000 MR Points for the sign up bonus.

    Those 346,835 Points are worth at least $3468 in Gift Cards. However, I am planning to transfer 300,000 MR Points to British Airways and using them for 2 First Class RT tickets from JFK-HKG on Cathay Pacific . I will then add 3165 of my own MR Points and transfer 50,000 MR Points to my Hilton HHonors account which will get me 1 night at the ultra luxurious Hong Kong Conrad. This is very useful because my wife recently was approved for a regular AMEX Platinum and “bumped the bonus” to 100,000MR Points which will get us another 2 nights at the Conrad. And because we are Gold HHonors Members we get a free upgrade (if available) to the Executive Floor which comes with a deluxe free breakfast, free cocktails, free hors d’oeuvres, etc

    Before buying the car I will spend $5000 on the Card and earn a $1,000 REWARD CERTIFICATE TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF MY NEW MERCEDES BENZ! I will also earn a $100 annual reward certificate toward Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories. And the $5000 spend on the AMEX gets me another 5000 MR Points worth at least $50.

    The Card comes with an annual fee of $475, but don’t forget you get a $200 airline credit and a package of great benefits including free lounge access when flying Delta, American or US Airways. If I use the free lounge benefit only 6 times a year, I will save $300 because day passes at these lounges cost $50 a day. So just the benefits package alone covers the annual fee.

    So getting this Card, spending $5000 on every day purchases and then buying a Mercedes-Benz is worth, at the very least, $4618 ($3468+$1000+$100+$50) but MUCH MUCH MORE to me because I will use the points for a luxury trip to Hong Kong.

    Just one note of caution for anyone else who wants to use my strategy. Whereas my local Mercedes-Benz Dealer gladly accepts AMEX Cards for the full price of a new Mercedes, not all dealers do. You may have to shop around for this deal or be prepared to negotiate. And even then some dealers will only accept AMEX if you pay a 3% surcharge which would theoretically have cost $1780 in my example above but still would have been worth it even at the minimum deal valuation of $4618

    And before I sign off just a huge thank you to Darius. I want you to know how much I love your blog and thank you for inspiring me and so many others to think big when it comes to earning and leveraging our precious points and miles.

    Cheers!

  6. And as for a “definitive” answer “in writing” as to whether or not the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card comes with the $200 airline credit just look at the official Press Release put out by American Express on August 22.

    It clearly states “$200 Airline Credit, no foreign exchange fees”

    http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2011/mb_cobrand.aspx

  7. Agree completely! Too rich for my blood. You can get 50,000 points a lot easier on another deal!

  8. @ Steven,

    Are you sure the dealership is going to let you put the entire purchase on your card? A lot of dealerships will cap the amount they will allow to be put on a credit card so they don’t have to eat the fee on the whole amount.

  9. @MommyPoints – maybe I was a little hasty in my critique here. Maybe the $200 airline credit is included. I will find out either way anyway as the $1000 MB cert makes it more than worthwhile to me

    @Steven – I will see how far this can be pushed. I suspect it’s “all in the price”, i.e. if they let you pay the full amount on Amex, then they are just seeing it as a 3% discount. My last MB had a sticker price of $77,775 but I actually ended up agreeing a price of $72,500 which was only just above their invoice pricing. With their kick-back from MB the dealer probably made around $3k on the car. My guess is he’d probably have done a deal where I could pay for it by Amex for $75k (i.e. my price plus 3% card fee). It actually would still probably be a good deal as you are basically buying Amex points for 0.6 cents per point – pretty good value (3% of transaction cost for 5 points per unit). I’d be curious to see if a dealer would allow this, I will certainly find

    Also I wonder how Amex treats benefits like purchase protection, extended return protection and extended warranty on something like a purchase of a $75,000 car???

  10. Also have to consider how much you can charge in a single purchase. While in theory the card is no limit in practice not so. Quick check on my account using the “check your spending ability” link shows mine caps out somewhere between $20k and $30k. I am sure with a call to Amex could get it higher but not sure about $75k!

  11. @Phil – Does the other half of your neighborhood have BMWs?! The $1,000 off against a new MB is a good deal, but I wonder if the dealer will just factor it in the negotiation (if you tell the dealer about it upfront). Or do you pull out the $1,000 when it is time to make payment?

    Even if you pay a 3% fee to the dealer for using a credit card, you still earn 2 points per dollar which is a pretty good deal!

    @Christopher
    - Thanks for the warning. I wish the T&C specifically mentioned the $200 credit, but it doesn’t mention other Platinum benefits as well.

    @Mommy Points - They haven’t included other benefits of the Platinum card in the MB Platinum T&C as well. So I think the rep and the article are correct, since this is a Platinum card.

    @Steven – It is a phenomenal deal for you! Thanks for sharing your perspective – and showing us what a good deal it can be. I just never though it would be possible to get a dealer to agree to charge the entire purchase price of a card to a credit card (and on an AMEX at that!).

    But here’s the good part – because the card gives you 5X points on Mercedes Benz purchases, even if you were to pay the 3% fee for using a credit card, you would still be ahead since you would earn 2X (5x -3%) per $1 spent at MB. A very good deal indeed! Throw in the $1,000 reward certificate ant the $100 credit for accessories and the card is a GREAT value for anyone who’s thinking of buying a Mercedes.

    Thanks for sharing the link and your perspective!

    @Faith – This may not be the deal for us, but it looks like it is useful for other folks!

    @Scott C - Good point, but even with the fee (as long as it is less than 5%) you still come out ahead since all MB transactions earn 5X points!

    @Phil - I would tend to agree with you that car dealers tend to bake all additional costs into the final sales price. But since you’re getting 5X points, a 3% fee still means that you’re getting 2X points on your MB purchase (which can be some serious points depending on what you buy!).

    For example, a 3% fee on a $100,000 MB is $3,000. But you get 500,000 MR points for the purchase (100,000 X 5) which if you value at 1 cent a point is $5,000. So you still come out ahead! You’re effectively earning 2X MR points with your MB purchase. Or as you point out, paying 0.6 cents for a point which is worth at least 1 cent in gift cards.

    I don’t know about AMEX, but I know that Visa/MC limit the protection to a certain amount and exclude certain items. You would likely have to tell AMEX about your purchase in advance, but would be curious to see how high they’d raise the limit. Thanks for sharing!

  12. The value of the $1000 cert depends entirely on who pays it. If it is anyone other than the dealer, then it is worthwhile. And I would suspect it is. Most likely it is paid for by a combo of Amex and MB. They are likely making some aggressive assumptions about how many will go unused and expired.

    The dealer on the other hand pays X for the car from MB (usually in the form of actually paying Y+Z and Z gets refunded back so it looks like they pay more) and they will sell the car typically at any price above X. If you agree a price of say $500 above X and then you pull out the cert and the dealer knows he has to come out of pocket himself for the cert value then the deal is off. But if he knows he will simply get $1k back from Amex and/or MB he will be just as happy as if you pulled out 10 Benjamins.

    Going back to the value of the 5x, yes you are right Darius you are essentially paying 3% (assumption here is that what the dealer pays for CC fees) to get a min 5% rebate, so in theory a no brainer. But you are still “paying” for it, i.e. your total out of pocket price goes up. You are paying 60 cents for each point you get. Given they can be redeemed as cash equivalent for $1 it really would make sense, assuming you only pay 5%.

    This will be very interesting come the end of the year when it’s time to get a new car

    Oh and yes the rest of the cars are a mix of BMW and Lexus :) The joys of the credit boom :)

  13. @Phil – You’re right – it depends on who ponies up for the $1000 certificate, and if it is MB/AMEX, the dealer really shouldn’t care since he/she gets the money back.

    I suppose if someone is buying a MB they should have the funds to buy MR points worth at least $1 for 60 cents, but as you point out, it is an out of pocket cost. I, too, have noticed an increase of entry level BMWs and MB’s here in Kansas!

  14. All normal Amex Platinum benefits apply to the MB Platinum card

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  16. Israel Husarsky

    is the fee prorated?

    lets say i apply get the points use them and cancel the card 50,000 points and omly a 150 charge if the whole thing wraps up in 4 months.

  17. @Israel Husarsky - I believe that AMEX would pro-rate your membership fee, but I don’t have any personal experience recently.

  18. CanadianMillionMiler

    Correction: (Darious please delete my above post)

    So from what I can gather here, even if you don’t plan to buy a Mercedes in the near future, your out of pocket cost for the annual fee is effectively just $75 {$475-(200 x 2)} [Airlines gift certs for 2011 and 2012] if you apply soon. So 50K MR points for $75 isn’t that bad of a deal, especially when you get 50% extra promo, say with BA or AA. 75K miles for $75 isn’t as good as 100K BA Chase promo for $95 but it’s getting there.

  19. @CanadianMillionMiler – Actually, you could cancel the card earlier and get a portion of the fee pro-rated which would make it less than $75!

  20. Regarding the $200 airline fee. I just received my Benz Platinum card and with the exception of a little bit of paper talking about the Mercedes benefits all the other enclosed literature is for a normal platinum card, and discusses the $200 airline benefit explicitly.

  21. @rob – That’s great news and thanks for confirming that you do get the $200 airline fee credit as well!

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  23. I just acquired this card, as I have 1 MB on lease and my wife drives one that we had purchased as well that is about 3yrs old.

    Here is the definitive list from the Amex site, with my calculations / comments in ( ) –
    5X Membership Rewards points at Mercedes-Benz dealerships (5% back essentially)
    1 point for everything else
    Access to Airport Clubs, The Fine Hotels & Resorts Program and Platinum Card® Concierge (same as regular plat)
    $200 Airline Credit, no foreign exchange fees (same)
    $1,000 certificate toward the purchase or lease of a new Mercedes-Benz after spending $5,000 (Great! Is this once or every time we spend $5k?)
    2,000 miles waived at lease-end (worth approximately $400 ($0.20/mile x 2000)(is this once or everytime we lease a car?)
    $100 annual reward certificate for Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories (Cool!)
    Annual fee of $475 ($25 more)

    Final analysis (3yr projection) assuming you get 1 MB-
    $1,000 savings after all negotiations on purchase / lease
    $400 in lease end miles
    5x points on your lease drive offs / purchase / down payment
    (assume $5000 drive off / down) = 25,000 points
    5x points on maintenance and tires over 3yrs = $3000 x 5x = 15k points
    extra 25k points over base platinum offer
    $100 in MB benefits certificate every year x 3 = $300
    ============================================
    TOTAL BENEFIT OVER STANDARD PLAT FOR MB OWNER = $1,700 + (65k points = $650) = $2350 – (extra $25/yr) = +$2250

  24. I just got a targeted offer for 50,000 MR points on the Business Platinum AMEX. It popped up underneath the Websites header after I made a payment. I didn’t click on it and then made another payment to see if it came back and it did! My offer is good till 8/4/12, (I’m not sure if it’s my targeted offer’s sunset date or a general targeted offer sunset date) but I’m not inclined to accept it as I don’t want to pay the $450 fee, even though the offer is double what I’m already pre-approved for. Good luck and thanks for the blog!

  25. does it counts toward mercedes services, parts etc…

  26. Got an email update on this card, the Amex MB platinum. It said the card will no longer give AA and USAir lounge access as of March, 2014.

  27. @Ken – That’s true, and I will have a post on it next week.

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  29. Gaurav Khanna

    Daraius–is this a distinct card from the AmEx business platinum and personal gold membership rewards cards? I hold both of those but will need to cancel this year to avoid fees but need someone to hold my MR points so I am not forced to transfer them into a program before I am ready or lose them. Thanks.

  30. @Gaurav Khanna – It used to be a distinct card, but the terms have changed and you can’t get the bonus again if you already were a Mercedes Benz holder. You could get the Blue card to keep the points alive (though you can’t transfer to airlines). That said, I don’t see a restriction on getting the card if you have the personal gold card (like there is with the regular personal platinum offer).

  31. I applied and got this card, but it says Platinum on it (in addition to Mercedes Benz). So, my question here is since this is an AMEX Platinum card, can I still get “the” Platinum card with the 40K MR bonus points? Or, are they the same product?

    Thanks!

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